Clinic where Joan Rivers stopped breathing has Medicare coverage pulled

Joan Rivers, right, and Melissa Rivers arrive for the 78th Academy Awards in Hollywood on March 5, 2006.
(Jeff Haynes / AFP/Getty Images)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has terminated its Medicare agreement with Yorkville Endoscopy, a New York City clinic that came under scrutiny following Joan Rivers’ death after an outpatient procedure.

In a letter sent to the clinic on Friday, the federal agency said it is terminating the Medicare agreement Jan. 31 because the clinic “no longer meets the conditions of coverage for a supplier of ambulatory surgical center services” and will no longer receive federal funds for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

New York state health officials have been investigating the clinic where Rivers had outpatient throat surgery in late August, as well as the circumstances surrounding the 81-year-old entertainer’s procedure and its complications. Rivers died several days after the procedure.


Rivers’ death “resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy,” the New York medical examiner’s office concluded.

In September, Medicare and Medicaid officials found that the clinic was not complying with several of its conditions of coverage. In response, the clinic submitted a plan to correct the issues, and it was accepted. But a follow-up investigation found Yorkville Endoscopy “no longer meets the requirements for participation” in Medicare.

One issue included the failure to assure that post-anesthesia evaluations for patients were completed and documented by the anesthesiologist before patient discharge.

The clinic can request a hearing within 60 days if it disagrees with the decision, the letter said. A person who answered the phone at the clinic said no one was immediately available to comment.

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